Open Enrollment Ends March 31 – Just 5 Days Left to Apply

Posted March 26, 2014
By Julie Bataille, Director of Communications, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace ends in only 5 days.  There are just 5 days left for consumers to apply for and enroll in quality, affordable coverage. If you don’t have health insurance and don’t begin to sign up by the deadline—you can’t get coverage again until next year.

Right now we are seeing a surge in consumers coming to HealthCare.gov and calling call centers. We’re working hard to ensure that our systems can handle record-high consumer demand over the next few days.  HealthCare.gov continues to perform well in terms of response time and error rates, even with traffic that is similar to what the site experienced at the end of December, the deadline for consumers who wanted their coverage to begin on January 1. There were over 1.2 million visits to the website and more than 390,000 calls received at our call center yesterday, which confirms that there is tremendous interest in signing up for coverage before the March 31 deadline.

We’ve completed the last rounds of system upgrades, including hardware, for this open enrollment period.  The site is prepared to accommodate approximately 100,000 concurrent users.  Additionally, we’ve resolved the software issues affecting the experience of most consumers.

While we are encouraging folks to sign up early, we know many people wait until the last minute.  If many consumers come all at once, we’ve built an advanced queuing system that will allow consumers to leave an email and be invited back when there are fewer customers to be helped or to join our system’s virtual waiting room.

Beyond the website, we’ve geared up for a surge across our entire operation.  Our Call Center is ready with as many as 14,000 customer service representatives, including 800 who speak Spanish.  The Call Center also has a queuing mechanism – if wait times get to be too long, we will offer consumers the convenient option to skip the wait and leave their contact information so we can get back to them and help them enroll.

We are ready for consumers.   It’s now time for you to check out your options and signup by March 31. And don’t worry, for those consumers who are in line by the March 31st deadline to complete enrollment—either online or over the phone – we’ll make sure you get covered.  Just like Election Day, if you are in line when the polls close, you get to vote.  We won’t close the door on those who tried to get covered and were unable to do so through no fault of their own.  So, those who were in line or had technical problems with the website can quickly come back and sign up as soon as possible.  

Millions of Americans have gotten health coverage through the Marketplace in the last five months.  We’re doing all we can to ensure that every American who wants to enroll in affordable coverage by the end of the open enrollment period—March 31, 2014—is able to do so.  It is our commitment: we’ll work hard to ensure that all Americans enjoy the security and peace of mind that comes with having quality health coverage.